Not a real top tier show for '69, but does have a long, wonderful "second set" jam (like the night before, there may have been no set break). It's one of those shows where if you like the era you'll be more fascinated. Shows from '69 can be fairly interchangeable - unlike just a couple years later. And, though fairly consistent, is takes something special to really standout, like, say 2/27, 3/2 or 4/17.
First Set. Average '69 fare. Although this was already the 15th Dire Wolf
, it's tentative and still not fully formed. Part of it is repeated and then Jer grabs it, 5:45
in, ready to lay some phrasing down. There's a cool part a minute later where the boys recognize he was going to add something. The middle of the set is above average with a swanky Easy Wind
that takes a bit to gather steam. This is the seventh China>Rider
pairing and they were starting to nail it. Both still have their '68 arrangements, just stuck together. High Time
drops in clean. They performed this continually (beginning in summer '69) for about a year, then dropped it. This version was in the middle of its run, when they were working out harmonies and practicing the new material. By this month they have the harmonies pretty well covered but it's kind of a sparse, puzzled-sounding version. Merle Haggard's single of Mama Tried
had been out less than a year when Bobby brought it to the band. Here Jer has the arrangement but hasn't fully fleshed it yet. The tight Good Lovin'
is dance-band-Dead with a drum solo. This is the very first Cumberland
and it's rough, like most early, not-road-tested Dead material. The playing is good, if tentative, but the vox aren't worked out yet. They don't really trainwreck; maybe because they're excited to bring out something new that they knew was good.
Second Set. Or second-set-like second half. It's cool there was a time when Dark Star
was a set opener. Above average sandwich but not that unique for '69. A bit of Uncle John's Band
emerges here (being tested for the third time, before written as a stand-alone). The section from William Tell through The Eleven
is terrific: some of the tightest jamming of late '69. Dick's 16
breaks the tranny into Caution
, but it's mostly rote/repetition. However in Caution itself there's a rare Main Ten
- the third one (they were far apart). The rest is average '69.
Overall = 3 stars
China Cat>Rider - Plays like a hot Rider tacked onto an old school China Cat
St. Stephen (cannon)>The Eleven - jam gets better as it goes
Made complete on Dick's 16
from what used to circulate (assumedly the main reason for official release). This SBD has the main jams but you will want the Rider, so...